Our new episode of The Constant Struggle podcast features actor & improviser Alex Wong. Click on the images below to find our more about his awesome acting journey and his cool new webseries “In Real Life”:
You want one piece of advice, starting out comedian? Don’t move to the suburbs.
This lesson I learned the hard way and tried to rectify by responding to an ad on Craigslist for a reasonably priced basement apartment at Bloor and Ossington. Fantastic location for a striving comic. Less than 5 minutes walk to the subway. Stumbling distance to Comedy Bar. Perfect. I went to check the place out and everything. It wasn’t great. But with a woman’s touch, it could look pretty damn adorable down there. Also, my pet cat Peanut has a way of making any living space adorable.
The landlady agreed that I could bring by a deposit for the apartment and I was thrilled. I would be moving back downtown. After 2 years in Etobicoke, and a brief stint in Mississauga in an attempt to save some money, I would be back in the centre of the action, and I could not wait. I could dream-taste the downtown garbage-day air already…
January 1st 2014; with Second City’s Conservatory program now complete, moving into a new place, I’d have more time free than I’ve had in a while. Time to get back out there. Do more stand-up, more improv, more storytelling. Maybe meet some people willing to work together in a sketch troupe. Get working on my writing; spec scripts, originals. The whole nine. Productivity ahoy! This is going to be THE year. But then…
The landlady informs me in a poorly structured e-mail (weird, for a former teacher) that her current tenant is not able to leave when he said he would. Which begs the question… WHAT THE FUCK were you posting an ad on Craiglist for if you weren’t even sure your fucking tenant was going to be leaving? It’s like.. “Here! Do you want to buy this car? Yes? Well too bad, you can’t It’s not for sale, sucker! BAHAHAHAHAHAHA!”
I’m fairly certain that’s the entire point of an online marketplace. You don’t put something up, unless it’s good and goshdarn available! I’m sure somewhere there’s a law against this type of flaking, but because no money was exchanged, it’s really just a matter of screwing over the person you lead on, then crushing her hopes and dreams. (Dramatic, much?)
I know an argument can be made for the fact that it is possible to be a performer and live in the ‘burbs, but personally, I feel as though I’m wasting SO much time on the commute, which drains my energy and my drive. If I stay in town after working an 8 hour shift, to see a show instead of say, going home and preparing dinner, then going back to town to see a show, I’m saving time, but draining my wallet. Ultimately, it’s a vaccuum of wasting time and money on eating out, gas, parking etc. I think living in town, even though rent is more expensive, the ultimate savings occur in time.
So now it’s back to the drawing board. I’m off to spend hours on Craigslist, Kijiji, ViewIt.ca and other such sites in an ongoing search for a convenient, not horrible location that won’t break me financially and/or morally (that’s right, I’m not moving to Parkdale.)
Keep your eyes open for me please, friends. And never, ever move to the suburbs if you want to keep performing comedy at this early and fragile stage.
It’s been a crazy week. (+ a few days.)
I volunteered for the Canadian Comedy Awards again this year, which was great! (With the exception of the biggest joke of the night: $13 + tip glass of wine.) I worked in the box office throughout the end of last week to sell tickets for shows put on by nominees in the various categories.
(If you’re curious, you can see the results of the CCAs right HERE.)
Then, I worked backstage for the actual Awards ceremony, where I had the pleasure of un-blazer-ing Alan Thicke of TV fame, holding stuff for Gavin Crawford, also of TV fame – and basically running about rounding up presenters for the rest of the evening.
The after-party was a lot of fun as well – every year I know a few more people at the CCAs & feel more welcomed as part of the community.
Which leads me to Fresh Meat. I am so nervous about Fresh Meat. I’m freaking out over Fresh Meat. People are telling me to relax and that I’ll do fine, but I am freaking out over Fresh Meat.
(If you’re like: “WTF is Fresh Meat?” Click HERE)
I’ve been working so much this summer in the evenings, and whenever I’m NOT working, I was trying to find jobs, or trying to network, or updating a resume, or writing, or doing ANYTHING to improve my financial situation (which was, until very recently, at risk of requiring me to move back to Welland…) that I haven’t been able to go out and perform as much as I would like.
In fact, tonight, at Comedy @51, I performed the set I wanted to do for next week’s Fresh Meat and it sortof flopped. I’ve run over in my mind a bunch of reasons why it didn’t go well, and I’m glad I still have a few more nights this week to rehearse it, but only at the beginning of the week, because guess what – Thurs, Fri, Sat, Sun evenings, I’ll be cleaning tables and pushing drinks at work (ie. NOT rehearsing.)
IIIIIIIIIIIII’m SCAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAARED!!!!! AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH!
There is some hope though, at least financially. Last Wednesday night, I was surfing craigslist looking for work (as one does when one becomes desperate) and I applied for a few. Thursday morning, whilst at Canadian Tire getting an oil change, I got a phone call asking if I was free to come in for an interview for a job as an Office Manager in Richmond Hill. I went to the interview and, despite my profuse nervous sweating, I got the job and started the next day, Friday. It’s a 9-5 temp job (with the *fingers crossed* possibility of extension – depending on what the boss says when he gets back from vacation,) which would allow for free evenings to go out and practice the work I so desperately want to do.
Ugh. I’m a great big ball of stress right now, folks. But this is the life of an artist, so I’m told.